The hike starts at the Barr Trail trailhead.
This route is a great alternative for those who wish to stay clear of the environmental and property rights issues of the Manitou Incline.
Head up the Barr Trail for a little over 2.5 miles to the signed junction with the Fremont Experimental Forest trail. The Barr Trail climbs about 2,000 feet in this distance putting the intersection at a little over 8,700 feet.
The trail to the Fremont Experimental Forest is an old road that passes through several building ruins on it's way through the forest. The Forest Service once tried to grow exotic evergreens here with no success. The ruins are the remains of the station buildings.
After about half mile on this road you will approach a T-intersection at a little over 9,000 feet on top of a ridge. Turn right on Long Ranch road towards the Mt. Manitou/Rocky Mountain saddle. There is a short cut-off trail just prior to this road intersection that will also take you to Long Ranch road. You can either leave Long Ranch road before the Mt. Manitou/Rocky Mountain saddle and bushwack up the south ridge of Mt. Manitou or proceed all the way to the saddle and turn left and head up the ridge. The Ormes Pikes Peak Atlas shows Mt. Manitou as 9,450 feet.
It is about 3.5 miles to the summit of Mt. Manitou from the Barr Trail parking lot with an elevation gain of about 2,800 feet.
General hiking gear is appropriate. Shoes with ankle support would be helpful for the off-trail sections near the summit. A topo map and compass are essential for this hike to aid in route finding. A GPS would be helpful but should not substitute for map and compass.
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